There is a shift happening, and it is towards better and more responsible business conduct. The idea was planted when in 1972, the then Prime Minister of India, Indira Gandhi, emphasised at the UN Conference on Human Environment at Stockholm, that the removal of poverty is an integral part of the goal of an environmental strategy for the world. Today, businesses across different scales and industries are incorporating sustainability and sustainable development in their mission statements.
In the past few decades, India has been experiencing unprecedented dynamism of thought and action that is tying economic, environmental and social issues into the overall fabric of business values. It is heartening to see how this awareness has grown and has been reinforced as establishments look for relevance beyond bottom lines.
The awareness has grown that for a commitment towards sustainable conduct to succeed, the idea needs to percolate to every level, and every person involved in the business. It has to, in fact, become a part of the organisation’s DNA. It must begin with acquiring an understanding of sustainability as a concept and then preparing to apply this understanding in all business interactions – from concepts to processes to products. Engagement of stakeholders, especially with employees and surrounding communities, is a critical step in this journey, as is setting forth specific and quantifiable goals. Like all effective systems, sustainable business behaviour cannot stand unless backed by a pro-active and committed communication and feedback system that keeps track of progress as well as of faltering indicators.
As a company, as a team, and as individuals, it is essential to hone sustainable actions into a character trait. No economic activity today can afford to dissociate itself from environmental consequences and it has become every business’s responsibility to develop systems that ensure that their projects do as little harm as possible to their surroundings.